Lightly raced, lightly weighted wins Melbourne Cups. That was my strategy last year when I nailed Rekindling. If a horse is lightly raced it can escape the eye of the handicappers…
Lightly raced, lightly weighted wins Melbourne Cups. That was my strategy last year when I nailed Rekindling. If a horse is lightly raced it can escape the eye of the handicappers and race hardened horses tend to underperform in the Melbourne Cup. The trainer of Marmelo, Hughie Morrison, said something similar this week: you need a Group 1 horse handicapped to be a Group 3 horse to win. Let’s have a look at main contenders and then I’ll share my Melbourne Cup tips.
Best Solution (57.5 kg)
Positives: Best horse in the race. Won the Caufield Cup. Won last 4 races on the trot, the last three all being Group 1s. Great gate (gate 6).
Negatives: Even though Best Solution won the Caufield Cup, it wasn’t dominant. A lot of people weren’t impressed. Never run over 2400m.
Would I tip it: I wasn’t impressed with the win in Caufield Cup, but I was impressed that he won when nothing really went his way. Can’t remember the last time a horse won the Caufield Cup and its odds drifted for the Melbourne Cup. He doesn’t fit in with my lightly raced lightly weighted agenda, but decent value after the drift. Not sure whether I see him running out the 3200m. If he keeps drifting, could be a good E/W proposition.
Watch Best Solution in the Caufield Cup:
Yucatan IRE (54.5 kg)
Positives: What a run in the Herbert Power! The time would have been phenomenal if he wasn’t eased to the line.
Negatives: Weight penalty following the Hebert Power was fairly significant. Distance Query. Will start in the car park (gate 23).
Would I tip it: No. Not a chance at the price. The Melbourne Cup is far too tough a race to warrant horses being that short, especially a horse that never won a Group 1 or run 3200m. It does fit the lightly raced model (13 starts for a 5-year-old) and even with the weight penalty still looks quite reasonably weighed (54.5kg). I’d back it $7.50+. If you don’t care about the odds and just want to be able to boost you tipped the winner: Yucatan is your horse.
Watch Yucatan in the Herbert Power Stakes:
Magic Circle (56 kg)
Positives: In fantastic form. Won last two races in style. Can run and win at the distance. Has the reigning Melbourne Cup winning jockey aboard.
Negatives: More weight than I like and the stable has said as much. Hasn’t raced in Australia. Mixed reports regarding its preparation at Werribee. The gate could be better (gate 17).
Would I tip it: Top hope. I like to know a horse can run out the distance. I think people overrate the ‘hasn’t run in Australia’ factor. Hard to imagine it not fighting out the finish.
Watch Magic Circle race away in the Chester Cup:
Muntahaa (55.5 kg)
Positives: Flew home in the Ebor. Looks ok at the weights. Good trainer and jockey. Good gate (gate 13).
Negatives: Aside from Ebor nothing stands out. Temperamental horse.
Would I tip it: Yes! The more I watch the Ebor, the more I like Muntahaa for the Melbourne Cup.
Watch Muntahaa in the Ebor:
Cross Counter (51 kg)
Positives: Very low weight. Has raced in ok form.
Negatives: Hasn’t raced above 2400m. No big race experience. Only OK form. Bad gate (gate 19).
Would I tip it: Is it miss rated? I don’t think so. Closed out most recent race reasonably well, but not outstanding. Too many queries on race experience, distance and just about everything really. All its got is a good weight. Only connections would really know if it has got what it takes.
Watch Cross Counter’s last race in York:
Marmelo (55 kg)
Positives: Year older, same weight as last year. Has some good races under his saddle. Ran well in last year’s Caulfield Cup. Decent form. Can run the distance. Good gate (gate 10).
Negatives: Failed in last years Melbourne Cup.
Would I tip it: There’s a lot to like about Marmelo. Trainers deliberately haven’t raced Marmelo so it would be fresh and wouldn’t get penalised in the weights. Ran as a joint favourite last year for a reason: it’s a good horse. The horse likes to run fresh hence why it’s running The Cup first up. Doesn’t have a recent X-factor run like Muntahaa, Yucatan or Magic Circle but definitely worth a look and a great place chance. Some people will never bet a horse that’s failed in a previous Melbourne Cup, but I see that as a value opportunity.
Watch Marmelo’s closing speed in last year’s Caufield Cup:
The rest of the field
I find it hard to see many other horses getting close. Cliffsofmoher I could make a case for but not terribly excited about it, especially at 56.5kg. Ventura Storm if it ran out of its skin. The likes of Youngstar and Rostropovich haven’t shown enough to make me think they’ll get that close, but I’m a little wary of Rostropovich at the lightweight. A few others just can’t be tipped on current form e.g. Sir Charles Road and Chestnut Coat. Avilius is good but not great and the distance is a major query. Sound Check has too much weight for the class of horse but is an outside place chance. Red Cardinal’s best could win it, but hasn’t been racing that well lately (value at $100 and worth a bet in exotics). Who Shot Thebarman is a crowd favourite, but I think 3rd in the 2014 Melbourne Cup is his career highlight. Ace High I give almost a zero chance. Auvary could start with the longest odds of any horse and for good reason. Vengeur Masque has not much to like unless the race is run terribly slowly. A Prince of Arran is a decent horse, but I prefer to avoid horses backing up from Derby Day. The odds seem too short given the barrier. Nakeeta ran well last year, isn’t in great form but might be worth a bet in exotics. Zacada is well below the class required on its best form. Runaway will most likely lead and I can’t see it getting close unless the field lets it go. Odds seem way to short.
My Melbourne Cup Tips
You can only tip on what the horse has shown. I couldn’t find any Group 1 horses rated as Group 3, but I could find three Group 1 horses rated as Group 2 horses. Only the trainers are going to know if some of the low weighted horses are better than their handicap. I foresee Muntahaa chasing down Magic Circle for the win. Magic Circle has slightly better form, but I just love the way Muntahaa won the Ebor. I’m happy to risk Yucatan entirely.
- Muntahaa (5)
- Magic Circle (3)
- Marmelo (9)
- Best Solution (1)
What I’m betting:
$2,000 WIN on Muntahaa @ $11 (betting late as the odds may drift a little)
$1,000 WIN on Magic Circle @ $9 (current fixed odds)
$500 E/W Marmelo @ $16.5 (betting late as I suspect odds may start around $19 on Betfair).
$200 Quinella on 1,3,5,9
$300 Trifecta on 1,3,5,6,9,14,16,18, 24
Slight lean to Muntahaa over Magic Circle, but I envisage them duelling out the finish in a similar way to Heartbreak City and Almandin in 2016. Marmelo is the underrated horse in the 2018 Cup and I’m keen to keep safe. After winning close to $10,000 last month, I’m happy to risk half of that on the Melbourne Cup. I wish that I’d found just one horse I liked but I couldn’t go past the 3Ms (Muntahaa, Magic Circle and Marmelo). Best of luck!